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Illini trio arrested on armed robbery charges

12 May 2017

IL football's Darta Lee, Zarrian Holcombe and Howard Watkins were arrested and booked at Champaign County Jail on Wednesday morning for charges of home invasion and armed robbery.

According to court records, Darta Lee, 18, is in custody on preliminary charges of home invasion and armed robbery.

The players - offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and athlete Zarrian Holcombe - allegedly attempted to rob a university dormitory early Wednesday morning. They will be formally arraigned Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

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Police say the three entered an apartment early Wednesday with masks on.

"It's not a very smart thing to do", Champaign Police Department Deputy Chief Troy Daniels said, according to FoxIllinois.com, "to go into someone's house armed, and even with a fake gun with masks on".

The players left with an undisclosed amount of money. After discussions with the two of them there and at the police station, they were each taken to the county jail and booked in between 10 and 11 a.m.

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Officers were called to Bromley Hall around 3:30 a.m.

Lee played in a total of 6 games as a true-freshman, including 2 starts on the offensive line. He notes that two of the players involved, Lee and Holcombe, had already been suspended from the team before the arrest.

IL football coach Lovie Smith hasn't had the easiest beginning to his tenure as head coach for the Fighting Illini. "We continue to gather information and will take appropriate steps based upon what we learn".

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Champaign police have confirmed to the Tribune that the three were arrested.

Illini trio arrested on armed robbery charges